Edit Blog Post
Published: June 23rd 2014
A Noisy Miner stood in front of Barry demanding food. He was brave enough to take some multigrain bread from Barry's hand.
After surviving a freezing night and having breakfast, we were preparing the van to leave when Barry got stopped by a Noisy Miner, standing right in front of him demanding food. I gave him a crust of multigrain bread and he had a go at hand feeding it. Amazingly, this courageous bird was tempted enough to slowly approach, and very quickly grab the crumb then leap away again. A couple more came down but they were much more timid. A Crested Pigeon wanted some, too, but he was “discouraged” by the miners.
We then went into the township of Walgett to get some fuel and try to find a bank to get this week’s housekeeping out. Barry was very happy to find a petrol station, with un-named fuel as so many seem to be in small towns, for only $1.61. There was a large fuel tanker in the forecourt to which a second tanker was being hitched. Then Barry noticed some very large above ground tanks behind a fence. He thinks it is a fuel depot for the area and the tankers service the local towns. I saw the double tanker heading out of town later.
"Stanley" by John Murray and friends
The 18 metre tall emu was designed by John and built by a lot of volunteers, who donated all the parts, too.
After fuelling, we drove into the main street and took a walk. Circling overhead at the intersection were five Black Kites. They didn’t seem to be hunting, just using the rising air that was coming off the black tar in the sunlight. I took a while trying to catch a photo but they moved so quickly it was hard to frame them. We got a good look at their underwings, though, and they aren’t really black but a very rich dark brown with a few lighter bars. They are easy to identify because of their forked tails.
Continuing our walk, we were saddened to see that almost every business had strong wire mesh on its windows and many, including the motel, had tall steel fences around the whole buildings. We also saw a few drunk people hanging around the street corners. It’s terrible to see a community that is so afraid that they have to live and work behind bars. One of the few bar-less shops was the Tourist Information Centre, where we found a lovely young lady who was very helpful. We also found a very colourful Aboriginal mural all over the floor, which really
"Stanley" Rest Area, Castlereagh Highway The "Stanley
This ingenious toilet uses car headlights reflected off the mirrors to illuminate the toilet at night.
brightened the room. After collecting some brochures for the area we set off again towards Lightning Ridge.
About 5km before the town, we found the Rest Area with “Stanley” the enormous Emu standing opposite. He was designed by the artist John Murray, who lives in Lightning Ridge and specialises in outback pictures, often featuring crazy emus. He had designed Stanley to go on the Birdsville Track but was meeting a lot of bureaucratic red tape. Lightning Ridge loved the idea, though, and when a visiting welder, Tom Parsons, saw the design he asked to be part of the project. It quickly caught on and others donated the VW bodies, satellite dishes and the recycled steel girders from Dubbo Police Station, or helped with the construction, which took 4 years altogether and was completed in September 2012. He certainly stands out as a landmark!
We were also fascinated by the toilet in the Rest Area, which had a sign directing anyone using it at night, to shine their headlights onto a silvered surface, above which was a mirror that reflected the lights onto the toilet. Clever! It seems the idea comes from the way miners
A typical Lightning Ridge Welcome - BIG
This brightly painted Agitator stands at the entrance to the Highway leading to Lightning Ridge. It is used to wash the ore before finding and polishing the "colour".
used to direct sunlight into their shafts using mirrors to light them in the old days. Outback folks are ingenious!
We continued on our way towards Lightning Ridge and Lorne Station, where we were staying. The Station is 5 km outside the town along some dirt road but it is well compacted and not too bumpy. The sites are packed dirt under scrubby trees but are reasonably flat and quite close to the amenities, which are basic but clean. We were surprised to see a lot of bluish butterflies flitting about the base of a few trees that had liana growing around them. They were completely oblivious to us.
We got set up and went back into Lightning Ridge to check out what was there and get some lunch and supplies. We found a car park on some vacant ground and directly opposite was John Murray’s Gallery, which we visited after lunch (pies and chips at a cafe). The gallery was wonderful, full of great, humourous pictures and prints which show so much of the bush we have passed and will see more of in the next few days. Part of the charm is
Two More Quirky Characters at John Murray's Shop
We get a calendar sent by John Murray every year from our friend in Florida USA. The emus are really funny.
the titles that he gives his creations, which are often jokes like, “Moment of Realization” on a picture of an emu with a truck reflected in his eyes; “Budgie Smugglers” on one with 3 pair of Speedos hanging on a line and a group of budgerigars climbing in and on them. We also kept finding his work all over town on adverts and the outside of businesses, like the Bowling Club and Herman’s Opal Store. Very recognisable.
We then dropped in to look at a general store as I need to get some more plastic boxes for the fridge and top storage cupboard (all the contents of the top shelf of the fridge and then second shelf on the door had been dislodged when the bumpy bitumen road on the way to Lightning Ridge had caused such strong oscillations that items were thrown around and I had a very difficult job trying to open the door without losing the contents!). One of the shops, in particular, stocked just about anything you could think of, except food. There were car things, sport stuff, toys, lollies, (sweets, for the Poms) homewares, pet gear, cleaning products and even arts and craft stuff! Typical outback shop. We found some possible boxes and took measurements to check back at the van then bought some food from IGA.
Dinner was a tasty stir fry and we settled down to watch some TV only to find we couldn’t get anything except the ABC so we watched some video and looked through the brochures to decide what to do tomorrow. Too many choices and not enough money!
Tot: 0.139s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 12; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0846s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb